Spontaneous Saturday 6/6/15: Tapping methods in Guitar Hero

Note: This post will only cover Guitar Hero 3 (henceforth called GH3) and Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock (henceforth called WoR), as they are the only two Guitar Hero games I have (excluding On Tour, which I suck at).


As I was working on “If You Want Peace… Prepare For War” on WoR, I thought of creating an in-depth analysis of tapping methods. First, however, I wish to list some terminology that I will use.

HOPO: Short for Hammer-On/Pull-Off, this term signifies a note that can be hit without strumming as long as the previous note has been hit. In WoR (unlike GH3), you cannot hit a HOPO if the fret is being held prior to its timing window.

Slider: Slider notes (which are not in GH3) can be hit without strumming no matter what. Using the slider neck on post-GH3 guitars to hit these notes is entirely optional (and I generally have that deactivated anyway because it interferes with some of my tapping methods).

Tapping: the concept of using one’s strumming hand to hit HOPOs and sliders. There are two forms of tapping: standard tapping (tapping only one fret at a time) and alt-tapping (tapping multiple frets at a time). There’s also double tapping, which is the concept of using both the fretting and the strumming hand in unison in order to make repeating patterns (such as triplets and trills) easier to hit.

Anchoring: holding down a fret such that pull-offs are easier to hit (i.e., by simply releasing the above fret rather than tapping the fret again)

GRYBO: abbreviations for green note, red note, yellow note, blue note, and orange note, respectively; used to explain the composition of note patterns

Quad/Quint: a sequence of four/five notes that can be classified as ascending or descending (ascending quads: GRYB, GRYO, GRBO, GYBO, RYBO; descending quads: BYRG, OYRG, OBRG, OBYG, OBYR; quints: GRYBO, OBYRG)

More terms may come up throughout this post, but they will be explained within.


Now, why tap? Simple: in order to hit sections that are difficult (or impossible) to hit with one hand. In my case, this generally encompasses sections that would otherwise require too much use of the pinky or too much fretting in general. Note that it’s also important to have enough room between strums if you want to tap; this can also be achieved by elbow strumming, which refers to the practice of strumming with your elbow such that your strumming hand is of immediate proximity to the frets.

Where to start with tapping? I would start with Through the Fire and Flames on GH3—doing the section “They’re Hammer Ons” on Slowest. The method I prefer is to anchor green with my index finger and tap all blue and orange notes, minimizing pinky use and instead working only with the index, middle, and ring fingers. An elbow strum is not necessary, but it makes things easier.

As for alt-tapping, I’ll get to that later. For now, I shall list the sections of GH3 and WoR (covering on-disc songs only) in which I use a tapping method that has succeeded at least once. Note that complexity is on a scale of 1-3, while consistency is on a scale of 1-5; more stars = greater magnitude.




  • Solo: There are two ways to do the 9th and 10th measures of the section (which are the only ones I tap); both work to reduce the effort required of the pinky.
    • Method 1 (complexity ★, consistency ★★★★★): tap all blue and orange notes until the first one of the 11th measure (where the notes start slowing down), anchoring yellow until the descents
    • Method 2 (complexity ★★, consistency ★★★★): a variation of the previous method which boasts nothing but style points; for the pattern in the 9th measure, alt-tap the orange and yellow notes while hitting the quads with your fretting hand

Cult of Personality

  • Start Soloing! (complexity ★, consistency ★★★★): After the first blue sustain, there is a pattern that goes GROGRB. I find it efficient to tap the orange and blue notes in that particular pattern in order to make it easier to hit the quint afterwards. Complexity and consistency values may vary depending on one-handed skill.
  • Keep Soloing! (complexity ★, consistency ★★★★): At the very end of the section, there is a pattern that goes YRGRGRYBYRYRYO B B Y. At the YRYRY point, tapping the last two yellow notes makes it easier (at least for me) to hit the orange note afterwards.

Cliffs of Dover

  • Intro Solo B and Solo D (complexity ★, consistency ★★★★): For the triangular (or so I call them) patterns, tap orange every time (except for the first, which will give you time to move your strumming hand to the frets). Note that in Intro Solo B, you might have to elbow strum the strum note.

The Number of the Beast

  • Solo 1 (complexity ★★, consistency ★★★): Well…just watch the video below. It’s mostly just standard tapping, but there is an alt-tap towards the end. It’s really mostly just to reduce the amount of bothersome one-handing required in that section.


  • Indescribably Beautiful Solo (complexity ★, consistency ★★★★): On the last measure, anchor blue and tap orange.

Through the Fire and Flames

  • They’re Hammer Ons (complexity ★, consistency ★★★): I already mentioned this in the overview: anchor green with index finger, tap all blue and orange notes.
  • Blackest Waves / Dreams of Freedom (complexity ★, consistency ★★★★): For the YRGRYRYRGRYRYRGR patterns and the similar BYRYBYBYBYRYBYBY, tap the high notes and leave the bottom two notes to your fretting hand. You could just one-hand these parts, but it’s more efficient to tap them. Also, beware of the BO in Dreams of Freedom
  • What The…? (complexity ★★★, consistency ★): I did this one on video. It was a random method I thought of, and I can’t even do it anymore. It involves alt-tapping, sometimes with three fingers.



Because there are significantly more sections worth tapping in this game, I wish to exclude the songs that I am far from FCing (Black Widow of La Porte, Fury of the Storm, Sudden Death). Moving on…


Outside of the many trills that exist in the song (especially in Sodom Solo A), there is only one other section I tap.

  • Gomorrah Solo B (complexity ★, consistency ★★★★★): When the green-orange trills begin, tap the high note for the entire rest of the section. For those who don’t have GH3 or find TTFAF too imposing or too much of a bother to unlock, this would be a great place to start learning how to tap, especially because the entire section is composed of sliders.

Chemical Warfare

  • Solo 1 (complexity ★★★, consistency ★★): I have this one on video too. In fact, I actually have a video tutorial on it. And, hey, the first two measures are good for alt-tapping practice.

  • Solo 2B (complexity ★, consistency ★★★): The taps are simple, but the execution is difficult due to high BPM. At the RGYGBGOG part, tap the high notes, and at RYRYRYRBRBRO, tap the blue notes.
  • Solo 2D (complexity ★★, consistency ★★): On the green-red trills, start by double tapping, then standard tap the YGBGY after. Now, the unorthodox part of this method, which simultaneously augments complexity and consistency, comes after the GRYGRYBRY part: alt-tap the OB afterwards. It may leave little room to reach the strum bar, but to me, it’s easier than trying to one-hand it.


12/29/15 EDIT: Nowi Wins Hey, what the heck is this? “Under Construction?” Really, I thought for sure I had already finished it by the deadline. Okay, time to finally pick it back up. I’m excluding Setting Fire because my method for Verse 3B is complete crap and depends entirely on luck.

If You Want Peace… Prepare for War

Video FC:

  • Fast Riff (complexity ★★, consistency ★★★★): Simply alt-tap the OB of the OBGBYGYRG triplets on every 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 7th measure. One-handing the GGRYGYRG or GGYBGYRG should give you enough time to reach from the strum bar to the frets, making this section a heck of a lot easier (in my opinion) than if it were done one-handed.
  • Synth Solo (complexity ★★★, consistency ★★): On OBYRYBYRGYRGYRBYRYR (in the fourth measure), alt-tap the notes represented by bolded letters. On the ascending triplets, ascending alt-tap (I do this with my middle and ring fingers to make it easier on me) the first triplet and hit the others with your back three fingers, anchoring green the whole time, as if your back three fingers were hopping. On the last measure (GRYBOBYRYBYRYRGBYRGYBYBY), alt-tap the notes represented by bolded letters.
  • Solo 2A (complexity ★★, consistency ★★★): On the penultimate measure, I hit the OBYRY pattern by alt-tapping the OBY because I find it difficult to intercept while one-handing. Consistency may vary depending on one-handed skill.


  • Solo 1 (complexity ★★, consistency ★★): Summarized in this ScoreHero forum post (which is exactly how I learned it):
    Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 3.25.52 AM
    (red indicates alt-tapping)


  • Insatiable Solo 2 (complexity ★, consistency ★★★): On the BRGYGR (chimney) patterns, tap the yellow notes. Simple, but not easy.

Speeding (Vault Version)

Video FC:

  • Start Yer Engines / Final Lap (complexity ★, consistency ★★★): For the 1st, 2nd, and 4th parts of the pattern, tap the bolded letters while anchoring green – GRYGBGYRGRYGBGYBGOGBYGYBGOGBYGYRGRYGBGYGRG
    For the third part of the pattern, anchor green unless hitting a quint and tap the bolded letters – GRYGBGYRGRYBOGBGYGYBYRGRGRYGBGYRGRYBOGBGYRG
  • Speeding Riff 5 (complexity ★★, consistency ★★): At the slider part, tap the following (alt-tap OY, tap B) – GYOYRGOYOYRGBYRGOYOYRGRYOR
  • Holding the Lead (complexity ★★, consistency ★★): At the slider part, double tap the OBOBOB trill, alt-tap the subsequent OBOB parts and the BYBY parts, and double tap the concluding trills. Tapping the blue before those trills is not necessary; I just do it because that’s how I learned the section.


  • Solo 2 (complexity ★★, consistency ★★★★): Hit the first set of triplets and, for the rest, alt-tap OB and hit the YBYR as if you were hitting YB doubles while anchoring red. For the OYBR part, tap O and B.

This Day We Fight!

  • Solo 2A (complexity ★★, consistency ★★): The only thing I really alt-tap is the YR right after the triplets, to make the HOPOs after it easier to hit.
  • Solo 2B (complexity ★★★, consistency ★): I don’t tap anything until the second measure, but that’s where things get complicated. YRGYBYRGRYOYRBOBR – uses a three-finger alt-tap and an ascending alt-tap because I cannot one-hand this part for crud. In short, this section is annoying. This chart is annoying. Heck, this song is annoying.

(You Can Still) Rock in America

  • Solo 1D (complexity ★★, consistency ★★): Alt-tap the following – GRYGRYBYRGYR GRYRYBOBYRYR – simple but difficult.


I don’t feel like making a conclusion section because this should have been finished ages ago.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)


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